Macbeth

Junior Payton Thompson auditions for a role in Theatre Northwest’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” Tuesday, Jan. 15 in The Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.

Several excited actors and actresses gave it their all in the Mary Linn Auditorium Jan. 15 at auditions for the upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” directed by Katheryn Bilbo.

A variety of talent and experience from Northwest students was displayed during the auditions. Alongside the several auditionees came mixed feelings of confidence, nervousness and the challenge of working with a Shakespearean script.

Northwest senior Sierra Coleman came out of her audition feeling confident.

“I have been prepping since we knew it was Macbeth ... since May. I started memorizing right before Christmas, so I felt pretty good about it,” Coleman said.

Not only did Coleman’s extensive memorization help her feel confident, but it also broke a long tradition in her thespian career here.

“This is the first audition I’ve had at Northwest where I haven’t wanted to puke beforehand,” Coleman said.

Junior Noah Welborn felt more mixed coming off stage.

“It’s kind of nervous right now because I’ve never done Shakespeare before,” Welborn said.

Welborn isn’t letting the new style stress him out too much though.

“I’m very familiar with it [the literature], so I’m not too crazy nervous about it,” Welborn said.

Sophomore Cory Busch was also dealing with Shakespeare for the first time. However, he’s feeling confident in his adjustment.

“I’ve been doing plays since my freshman year, but this is the first Shakespeare I’ve ever done,” Busch said. “It’s definitely a tough transition, but I feel once you chew on what’s being written and what dialogue is there, there’s a lot to go on.”

What all three auditionees have in common is having to deal with arguably one of the dirtiest words in the theatre world: Macbeth.

“It’s a person, somebody that is good being led down the path to being evil while ... a little evil at the start, ends up realizing what they did wrong and they end up going crazy,” Coleman said.

Welborn further elaborated how this affects thespians individually.  

“The superstition is that if you say ‘Macbeth’ while performing a version of Macbeth, something bad will go wrong,” Welborn said. “That actually kind of started because a lot of this play is done in very low lighting. And so a lot of accidents happen when actors aren’t used to working in low lighting.”

Despite being explainable with a logical reason, events still happen that unnerve performers. In some cases, they’ve happened at Northwest, according to Busch.

“During their last production of ‘Macbeth,’ the actress they had playing Lady Macbeth had kind of a stress-related psychotic break,” Busch said.

Unlike Macbeth however, the actress made a recovery. Busch said it was just a one-time thing, and she was better afterward.

Alongside being wary of the “Macbeth” superstition, Coleman has her own superstitions.

“I am a dancer, my mom is a dance teacher, and I was raised to believe that if you’re not nervous, you’re not prepared,” Coleman said.

She also mentioned her backstage superstition.

“I have to pace because if I stand still when I’m nervous, I’ll get even more nervous and then I mess up before I go on stage,” Coleman said.

Similarly, Busch has his own superstition.

“Usually I try not to read the source material, the script, for the play that I’m auditioning for. I think that’s just bad luck,” Busch said.

His superstition doesn’t go unwarranted either.

“I’ve never been cast in a production of something I read the script before I auditioned,” Busch said.

The performance of “Macbeth” will be held April 11-14.

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